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  • Devaney Runs the Gamut

    Devaney Runs the Gamut
    Posted >Fri, February 26, 2010 11:15
    by Nick Wagoner

    INDIANAPOLIS -

    - Rams general manager Billy Devaney addressed the media about two hours ago and went in depth on his thoughts on what are the four prime prospects for the top pick in this year's draft (in no order): Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh, Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford and Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen.

    - But Devaney didn't stop there. He also addressed rumors about Steven Jackson and more on the draft scenarios being thrown around out there. With that, here's a good portion of Devaney's discussion from this morning.

    (Information on Sam Bradford’s health)
    We haven’t. We will get with the doctors, our medical people as soon as we get back to St. Louis. That will be a big decision and a lot will go into that. We will probably have more than one opinion on that. We will get as accurate and thorough information that we can. We will find out after this process is over.

    (How do you separate Suh and McCoy?)
    We are hoping that somehow there is separation. Right now in our eyes, there isn’t any. They are both great players, they are going to be great players. They are great character guys, they love playing football. I hope something happens where there is separation. Right now in our eyes, there isn’t.

    (Barring a trade, it seems there are about four prospects to choose between, is it now a decision of choosing between two positions?)
    Sure. When you are 1-15, there are a lot of different directions you can go and we are still trying to figure that out. There are pros and cons to whatever position you decide to go but we know that if it comes down to that right now and there are four guys that will be given consideration but we have to be prepared for anything. If we do wind up trading down a little bit, we have to have a bunch of guys in the hopper that we feel good about. Those four guys you mentioned, sure, we like everything about them so far.

    (Any trade talks yet?)
    No. It’s too early for that. We haven’t even gone through the free agency period. That could alter it. We are sitting here right now thinking we need A, B and C and we sign a guy a couple weeks from now at that position, it may alter your draft strategy a little bit. But there hasn’t been any phone calls to any team whatsoever. I would think eventually that will happen but it’s too early.

    (But the phone lines are open?)
    Of course. Everybody that comes up here is open for more picks. Nobody is going to say ‘Hell no, we don’t want more picks, we are staying where we are.’

    (Worried about medical information on Bradford?)
    Yeah, that’s why we put it on the doctors. They better be sure. You hope so. You get to all of the tests but we haven’t seen him throw. His date is the 25th of March. In my mind, we may go in again right before the draft and see what his status is, is it improving, has he regressed? We need to find out and be as sure as possible. There is no sure thing but yeah, a position like that, absolutely we need to be sure.

    (How much do you know about Bradford?)
    We are just now starting to learn about these juniors. You go into the year and go to colleges, you can’t get a lot of information on these guys, they haven’t declared, they are still undecided so the coaches really aren’t going to talk to you about a guy they would like to stay in school. So it’s not like we say here’s what the weight coach said about him and here’s what the position coach says. One of the things we did pick up was he is a tall guy, he just needed to add some weight and they didn’t think it was a problem it was just that as he matures he will be fine eventually but one of the things is that for a tall guy he needed to put some pounds on.

    (Have you or would you consider trading Steven Jackson?)
    No. You know what? We need more players like Steven Jackson. We can’t be poop canning them out of the building. You know what I mean? We have got to get more guys like that in. There is no talk about trading Steven Jackson and there won’t be any.

    (Thoughts on the report by ESPN's Adam Schefter that you will definitely draft Sam Bradford?)
    (Tonguqe firmly inserted in cheeck) That took a lot of pressure off of us right away because when Dr. Schefter cleared him medically, we feel really good about the health status of Sam Bradford now with Dr. Schefter giving him a clean bill of health and guaranteeing our pick so we are on to the second round right now. (Laughing)

    (Where does Eric Berry fit into this mix?)
    He’s another guy that impacts the game. As a rule, safeties aren’t talked about going that high but this guy is I think in everybody’s mind impacts the game. So again, you try to get impact players and Berry is certainly one.

    (Any interest in Michael Vick or talks with the Eagles?)
    We haven’t talked to the Eagles about any of their players. This has come up a lot in St. Louis and I have to stick to this. I can no more talk about Mike Vick than I can talk about Drew Brees or Tom Brady or anybody. He’s a member of the Eagles and he’s under contract with the Eagles. We have not talked to Philadelphia about any of their guys.

    (How can you avoid drafting a QB after taking linemen the past three years?)
    You can’t force the issue. I know what you’re saying. At some point, we need to address the quarterback situation. We are still doing that. It’s on going. We have Marc still under contract; he’s still on the Rams. You have to go through free agency. We have to see what guys are going to be out there, the status of the draft class and then make a decision. If it gets down to it and we think the defensive tackles, these two kids are far and away the highest graded players and they are the best players in the draft, we can’t force it and say ‘Hey, we have got to get a quarterback’ and draft way down on your value. But that’s what we are trying to figure out right now.

    (tendering Atogwe decision?)
    We talked about that a lot. There was a lot of talk about that. That wasn’t an easy decision but I think we have got it pretty much figured out.

    (What has process been like for getting updates on Bradford’s health?)
    Really the only discussion has been with Tom Condon when he sent out a memo probably about a week ago to all of the teams saying Bradford wasn’t going to work out here and he was going to work out on his pro day. I called Tom to say we got the letter and where is he at in the rehab and that kind of stuff. I told him to stay in touch throughout this thing. I have never talked to Bradford at all.

    (How much throwing is he doing?)
    That’s what we were told. The coaches have talked to him. We are going to talk to him here and they did some initial interviews over the phone before they get here to get all of the background stuff out of the way so we can just get down to football stuff during the interview process. It sounds like he is throwing about 50 balls a day between 20 and 40 yards but I don’t know what that means. Is it soft tossing, is he ripping the ball? I don’t know that but it sounds like he is throwing a lot of balls.

    (What do you want to see out of Clausen and McCoy in terms of health?)
    Yeah, the same thing. Clausen is working out beginning of April and we will be there for that. You have to see a quarterback live. You can’t judge arm strength off of tape. But we have seen a bigger body of work on Clausen because he played all the games this year and was unbelievably impressive with his accuracy and all. We just want to look at arm strength that you can’t judge all the time on looking at tape. The other stuff, athletic ability, knowledge, he’s got really good temperament, all that, we are fine with all that. We just want to see him throw the ball live.

    (He had 28 touchdowns and only four INT’s, can that translate to the NFL?)
    I don’t see why not. I really don’t. He has been well schooled. He’s had great training there at Notre Dame. He is ready to jump in and play. I don’t know why it wouldn’t. The guy is so accurate. He’s done a heck of a job.

    (Does it give a guy like Clausen a leg up to come from a pro style offense?)
    The learning curve isn’t quite as long but if you take a guy like Bradford next to Clausen, you are not going to ordain them or hand them the job as soon as they get in anyway. If a guy is smart and athletic, he will pick it up. The spread won’t be a negative.

    (If you did draft a QB high, do you still think you would need to add a veteran too?)
    We have to spend time and figure Bradford out. That’s where temperament comes in more than anything. Some guys can do it and if they get the snot knocked out of them, it doesn’t effect them. Some guys, it destroyed them as rookies when they get put in there and get beat up pretty good and never recover. Peyton Manning won what a couple of games his first year. But you weren’t going to destroy him. So it depends on the individual.

    (What if Bradford throws in March and he’s still not there but you know he eventually will be. How much would that doubt concern you?)
    It makes you pause, sure it does. Then you are projecting. Then you are saying I think he’s going to be OK. That’s a hell of a projection.

    (Planning to have dinner at the combine with any of the QB prospects?)
    Not so much here. Every minute is accounted for while we are here. We will spend plenty of time in Norman and Oklahoma City just as we will in South Bend to talk to them. We will spend a lot of time with those guys. And, to be honest, in Austin also. We plan on spending a lot of time.

  • #2
    Re: Devaney Runs the Gamut

    Ahahah aw man that Dr. Schefter comment was funny

    Pretty good read...When he talks about McCoy and Suh, I have to wonder if he's keeping his hand close, or if the Rams really feel that way. I'm leaning towards the former. There wasn't really much we didn't know already, but its still reassuring to hear him shoot down the Eagles rumors again.

    Bradford's Pro Day will really be huge for him. That, and his medical reports. If he's not fully recovered by then, his draft status could take a hit. If he's impressive, no doubt he'll be considered.

    Comment

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    • eldfan
      Evaluating QBs is a tough part of draft
      by eldfan
      BY JIM THOMAS
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      04/12/2010

      If only it were a matter of standing tall in the pocket and throwing the ball through a wall. Evaluating talent is always a crapshoot in the NFL draft. But picking a quarterback?

      Double tough.

      There's so much that goes into playing the position, things that can't be timed or measured, things that have absolutely nothing to do with size or arm strength. Which helps explain why even at the top of draft there's a Ryan Leaf for every Peyton Manning; an Akili Smith for every Donovan McNabb. MORE RAMS


      Rams general manager Billy Devaney says he has learned this lesson the hard way at times over his career as an NFL personnel evaluator.

      "I've come full circle," Devaney said. "If you don't have the intangibles to play that position. ..."

      Well, it's probably not going to work.

      Devaney was with the San Diego Chargers when they drafted Leaf — a colossal bust — No. 2 overall in 1998. And that experience helped change his thinking.

      "To me, the physical skills are almost the easy part now (in evaluating) these kids," Devaney said. "There's so much that goes into being a quarterback in the NFL. The work ethic that you have to have. The leadership. The time that you put in. The media scrutiny. If you can't handle all that stuff, you're going to have a hard time performing on the field."

      As they decide whether to take Sam Bradford, or perhaps trade down for Jimmy Clausen or Colt McCoy, the Rams are factoring lots of traits and characteristics into the evaluation process.

      FOLLOW ME

      "The teams that have been successful lately, it seems to me they have those leadership-type guys," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "Guys that can get the job done in a pinch. Certainly you want all the other things that go with (playing quarterback) — a guy that can throw the football, all the physical qualities. But leadership to me is really important at that position."

      In Detroit, coach Jim Schwartz said the Lions felt the same way en route to deciding on Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford as No. 1 overall.

      "Does the team believe in this quarterback's ability to win?" Schwartz said. "If you can't cross that hurdle, it doesn't matter how strong his arm is, or how smart he is, or how fast he is or any of those other things. He's the leader of the team, and if a team doesn't have confidence in that player, then you're never going to get anywhere with him."

      Leadership doesn't show up on game film. So it takes lots of research, but there should be a track record in college and earlier.

      "You just grind as much as you can, talk to as many people, and try to get as accurate a picture as you can on the guy," Devaney...
      -04-12-2010, 05:26 AM
    • eldfan
      QB or no QB? In draft, Rams in search of new face for franchise
      by eldfan
      By Jim Corbett, USA TODAY


      INDIANAPOLIS — The St. Louis Rams own the first overall pick and a likely draft-day quarterback quandary.
      The consensus best prospects among evaluators of this draft class are defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska and Gerald McCoy of Oklahoma.

      But if healthy, former Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is considered the top quarterback and the 1-15 Rams are a franchise without a face.

      They seem set on moving on from the battered and beaten-up Marc Bulger and are in desperate need of a long-term answer at quarterback to energize their fan base.


      FROM THE COMBINE: Top prospect Dez Bryant won't work out
      DRAFT ORDER: How teams will select in the first round

      On Thursday, ESPN's Adam Schefter guaranteed on-air that the Rams will select Bradford first overall in the April 22-24 draft.

      One problem. Bradford, who is rehabilitating his throwing shoulder following Oct. 28 AC joint reconstructive surgery, won't throw for teams until his March 25 personal pro day in Norman, Okla.

      Only then will teams have a better idea about the status of the shoulder of the top-rated quarterback prospect.


      PHOTOS: NFL scouting combine

      "That took a lot of pressure off us right away when Dr. Schefter cleared him medically," Rams general manager Billy Devaney cracked Friday. "We feel really good about the health status of Sam Bradford now with Dr. Schefter giving him a clean bill of health and guaranteeing our pick. So we're on to the second round right now."

      Devaney did concede the team is considering Suh, McCoy, Bradford and Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen. "I think we pretty much know who the potential candidates are," he said.

      He also conceded the organization is still mulling which position can help the team most.

      "Sure," he said. "When you're 1-15, there's a lot of different directions you can go and we're still trying to figure that out. There are four guys that will be given consideration. But we have to be prepared for anything (a trade down).

      "Those four guys, we like everything about them so far."

      The Rams have taken a defensive linemen near the top of the draft in two of the last three years, with defensive tackle Adam Carriker (2007) and defensive end Chris Long (2008).

      No team has called yet with any offers for the top pick. What's more, the Rams have not talked to the Philadelphia Eagles about quarterback Michael Vick.

      "I can tell you this, we have not talked to Philadelphia about any of their players," Devaney said.

      Devaney did insist: The Rams can't overdraft for position.

      "If it gets down to we think the defensive tackles, these two kids, are far and away...
      -03-01-2010, 01:36 PM
    • Bald_81
      Rams aren't tipping hand on Bradford-or-DTs quandary
      by Bald_81
      The bolded part is very interesting to me. You read the first part and you think, okay, we're definitely leaning toward taking a DT. Then you read the second part and you have that mentality totally thrown out. Billy is extremely open and you can tell he speaks his mind. I like that he is upfront about everything and lays everything out in the open. This can be attributed to the fact that we are picking first so he has his pick of whoever he likes, but I like it as a fan that he doesn't leave us in the dark. This should be a very interesting 50+ days until April 22nd....
      -02-26-2010, 09:18 PM
    • Azul e Oro
      Devaney/Spags press conference on Bradford
      by Azul e Oro
      (GM Billy Devaney Opening Remarks)
      “Obviously you know we took Sam (Bradford) but what I did want to say…what really on the surface should have been an obvious pick - and maybe to a lot of you it was, that we were taking a quarterback - those other two kids we were thinking about, (Ndamukong) Suh and (Gerald) McCoy, they made this whole process really difficult being the players and the type of people that they are. It really was a tough decision and it shouldn’t have been. Bradford should have been the obvious guy all along and we wrestled with it just because we think those two kids are really going to be special football players. I wanted to throw that out there first of all. Obviously we’re thrilled to have Bradford on board. The whole building (is excited). Believe it or not, I did talk to everybody at some point individually, defensive coaches, the same thing. They are thrilled about having Bradford in the building as our quarterback. That’s pretty much it.”


      (Coach Spagnuolo Opening Remarks)
      “We’re fired up. It’s just like Billy (Devaney) said, this is a special guy. We thought that throughout the whole process. It just grew and grew. We made the final decision when we had to and are looking forward to moving on from here. He’s got all the things you look for in a quarterback. We’re happy that way.”


      (On what they saw in Bradford to make them comfortable with this pick)
      Spagnuolo: “Well there are a lot of different things. I let the experts who know quarterbacking and the technique and whatnot handle that, but I did observe real closely the interaction between coaches - I’m talking about Sam with coaches - and the mental part of it and how he acted around his teammates. All that stuff’s important to me, anything that said ‘team’ or said ‘leader’. I got to know just in sitting with him that he’s a thinker. He’s a listener. He’s got a calmness about him. I thought all those qualities were pretty good in a quarterback. “

      (On when they decided that Bradford was the choice)
      Devaney: “It was probably a couple of days ago. I wanted to get the input from everybody. I kind of had an idea, but it just made me feel that much better when I got the input from the scouts and the coaches, what their true feelings were also, and that just solidified my belief that this was the perfect fit for us.”



      (On what separated Bradford from the other quarterbacks)
      Devaney: “I don’t know. Those guys are going to be really good. I’d just rather talk about Bradford and the positives of him. Believe me, if it wound up for some reason that we didn’t keep this pick, and it was one of those other guys, we think they’re going to be great pros also.”


      (On they key elements from the coaching staff to ensure Bradford will...
      -04-22-2010, 11:54 PM
    • Nick
      Billy Devaney on ESPN 101
      by Nick
      Billy Devaney on ESPN 101

      -Monday may have been the worst day for him. Combination of losing, by the end of the day the players had vacated the building, it was like a morgue. Everything had changed. Nobody around on Tuesday. As much as you get around these guys, he likes it – messing around with players, getting to know these guys. There’s a vibe. Good thing is they’re doing football stuff – free agency in morning, college in the afternoon. No time to wallow for personnel people.

      -Coaches and staff are evaluating our team. Have to take emotion out of it. Look @ players like you don’t have feelings for them one way or another, how do they perform as football players? But there’s some guys whose value is 50% on field, but toughness and leadership has value that plays a part of evaluation as well. Have to take intangibles into consideration with on field stuff. Might apply to older vets on downside of career more often, experience that he brings, way he sits in meetings, way he studies film. Still has to be able to play, but still value to intangibles. Had a bunch of guys who stepped up and filled that role this year.

      -Free agency is never something to turn around a team. Maybe to plug hole here or there. This year, it looks like the available players will not be very impressive, even number-wise. Looks like there won’t be a cap which affects year 4-5 players who won’t be FA. Now it’s six years and above, so 29 or 30 year old guys and those guys are less appealing as they’re one year contract guys, and that’s not what they’re looking for. There won’t be Jason Browns out there in the prime of his career who will be with the Rams forever and has another contract down the road. Pool of players has shrunk, type of players has shrunk. That being said, there are guys out there that they’re on right now, personnel people have it lined up. May not be marquee, high priced guys. Might be able to help yourself with solid starter.

      -Injuries make the evaluation process difficult. Have to be honest; weren’t playing great with full compliment of players. Thought the season would be tough sledding but if they stayed healthy they’d get better by end of season. They struggled but then guys started going down and then it become a real struggle. So how do you evaluate a guy like Laurent Robinson? Is he a #1 or #2? He has big time ability, but they only have a couple of games to evaluate on. Know he’s a keeping, same thing with Jason Smith. Saw a guy getting better and better. Hit a spell where 2-3 games where OL was really going. Became a tough physical run oriented team, then Smith gets a concussion and is out. Have to base it on what you saw in small window and the progress made from camp to season, knock on wood he’ll be fine when he comes back and is healthy.

      -Smith went to a specialist...
      -01-07-2010, 07:34 AM
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